Sunday, August 8, 2004

Finally - Andre's back

Agassi outlasts Roddick for title matchup vs. Hewitt

By Dustin Dow
Enquirer staff writer

MASON - In a week's time, Andre Agassi has returned excitement and success to his career.

Agassi outdueled 21-year-old and No. 2-ranked Andy Roddick Saturday night in a three-set showdown in the semifinals of the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters.

Finally - Andre's back
Agassi wins in one for the ages
Hitting fast forward in evolution of serve
10th-seeded Hewitt gaining momentum
Woodbridge building another dynasty

"It's thrilling," said Agassi, who played in the semifinals here for the first time since 1999. "You get a real rush of blood."

His 7-5, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (2) victory sent Agassi to the finals here for the first time since 1996, when he won his second of two titles in Cincinnati.

He plays Lleyton Hewitt in today's final. Hewitt leads the all-time series 4-3, but Agassi won their previous match, in the 2002 U.S. Open semifinals.

At 34, Agassi is the oldest finalist since Mark Cox , who was 34 years, 3 months and 13 days-in 1977 - four days older than Agassi.

"I'm going to be amazed if I can walk up the stairs fast at 34, much less play that level of tennis," Roddick said.

Should Agassi defeat Hewitt, he would become the second-oldest champion in tournament history. He is playing in his first final in any event since the Tennis Masters Cup last November.

"For the first time in a while, Andre's pretty much got nothing to lose," Hewitt said. "He loves big matches, and he loves playing."

Agassi's ranking has fallen from No. 1 to No. 11 in the last 12 months, but he now appears ready to contend for another U.S. Open title at the end of the month.

"I wanted to make sure the best players in the world have to play their best tennis to beat me," Agassi said. " I felt like I did that tonight."

Lleyton Hewitt vs. Andre Agassi (Hewitt leads 4-3)

2002 U.S. Open (semifinals): Agassi 6-4, 7-6, 6-7, 6-2

2002 Cincinnati TMS (quarterfinals): Hewitt 7-5, 6-3

2002 San Jose (final): Hewitt 4-6, 7-6, 7-6

2001 Tennis Masters Cup (RR): Hewitt 6-3, 6-4

2001 Indian Wells TMS (semifinals): Agassi 6-4, 3-6, 6-4

1999 Los Angeles (quarterfinals): Agassi 5-4, retired

1998 Adelaide (semifinals): Hewitt 7-6, 7-6

He's a man of great size - and wisdom
Palmer grades himself a 'C' after first weekend of action
Bengals notebook: Ross signs contract with Steelers
Meet the Bengals: Elton Patterson
Manning likes what he sees from Colts' WRs
Browns' Boyer could miss 10 weeks

Coaches, players ready for camps to get going

Wilson not up to form in loss
Reds insider: Has Lindner had enough?
Book signing on deck for Nux
Larkin lessons helping Lopez
Still waiting on Larkin, Griffey
Knight reveals battle with heart condition
Reds chatter
Around the majors: A jersey for a promise
Maddux wins No. 300
Playoff possibility lures Walker to Cards
Seattle manager Melvin ejected before game
NL: Standing ovation for Walker in win
AL: Lawton's homer sends Tribe to 2nd in Central
AAA: Bats, Tides split twin bill

Finally - Andre's back
Agassi wins in one for the ages
Hitting fast forward in evolution of serve
10th-seeded Hewitt gaining momentum
Woodbridge building another dynasty

In for the fight of his life
Lords of the ring
Billy Joiner embodies city's boxing legacy
Olympic boycott unlikely to occur
Edwards suspension merited, IAAF finds
Olympics special section
Photo gallery: A look at local Olympians
Editorial: Congratulations to our local Olympians
2004 Summer Olympics schedule
Olympics guide, multimedia

Watanabe looking for another shot at title
Good Sports: Cyclists create a park for pedaling
What's up with that?
Sports digest
Sports this weekend on TV, radio